There was a noise coming from downstairs; from somewhere around the vicinity of the front door I heard a scratching.
It was only subtle at first – just the light touch of an object brushing against the grain of the wood.
I rolled over, sending a dusty, dog-eared velvet pillow tumbling off the bed and onto the equally dog-eared carpet below.
I closed my eyes, intent on going back to sleep. The noise, however, did not stop, and this damn house was so large that even the tiniest sound seemed to be magnified like a trumpet as it echoed through these empty dusty halls.
It was probably just some unusually persistent woodland creature, I decided, and rolled over again.
A badger maybe, a squirrel? Some lonely little puppy dog that had bolted from one of the near-by country estates only to find life in the rolling woods not nearly as fine as life in the manor?
‘Oh, fine then.’ I finally grumbled, pushing the covers off me with a great harrumph. If whatever was scratching at my door was so damn intent on ruining the woodwork, then I'd give it a piece of my mind.